Northborough – Jennifer Gauvin has dedicated much of her adult life to caring for those afflicted with ALS. She will be running in the Falmouth Road Race, with the Compassionate Care ALS team, August 19 in Falmouth.
“This will be my fifth year running the Falmouth Road Race for ALS to benefit Compassionate Care ALS, a nonprofit organization so dear to my heart. I dedicate this year to Terry Nash and Frank Braney whom I personally cared for,” she said.
Gauvin has helped seven patients in the four years she has been a caregiver, including Nash and Braney, her most recent patients. She forged deep and lasting friendships with them and their families.
Her career as a caregiver started when a former classmate and friend from high school, Matt Bruce, was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 25. Gauvin and Bruce graduated from Algonquin Regional High School in 2005.
Gauvin explained that, at the time of Bruce’s diagnosis, the whole community came together and wanted to do something to help. She came up with the idea of holding a community 5K road race. She had never organized anything before but it was a huge success with about 400 participants. It raised roughly $20,000 dollars. Bruce passed away two weeks before that race in 2014.
Proceeds went to Compassionate Care ALS (CCALS.) They offer emotional support to help families and patients with the difficult obstacles of ALS and equipment to improve their quality of life.
When Gauvin met CCALS’ director, Ron Hoffman, at her race, it was the beginning of a great friendship. He offered her a position that she happily accepted and moved to Falmouth where CCALS is based.
“It changed my life when I met Ron and just doing the work puts everything into perspective,” shared Gauvin, who said she was hugely inspired by this organization.
“What some people don’t know is how much it takes for an ALS patient just to get out of bed for the day and how much work it is on the caregivers, especially the family members, who don’t want to watch their loved ones suffer. That’s physical and emotional pain all at once,” she said.
Gauvin is now enrolled at Becker College, studying to become an RN, and plans to continue caring for those afflicted with ALS. She explained the importance of motivating them by focusing on what they can do and not what their limitations are. This is truly her calling.